Category Archives: Leadership coaching

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The Importance Of Recognizing And Developing The Best Employees

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Great employees make great organizations. If your business has a knack for hiring talented employees then you also understand the importance of identifying and developing those employees to be even greater.

Any company that hires people has talent at its disposal. Understanding how to recognize and develop talent is of strategic value. Companies that know how to cultivate talent tend to be leaders in their industry. What follows are key traits of great employees:

  • Winning employees take initiative – they are doers: Great employees don’t need to be told over and over what to do or when and how to do it. They take initiative because it’s in their nature to be resourceful and active. Going hand-in-hand with initiative, the employees that will inevitably be strivers for the organization will also be those who take action and get things done in all other aspects of their lives. Being an achiever is in their nature.
  • They are natural leaders: The signs of a natural leader can be revealed in many ways. A natural leader might be outspoken but they will be respectful. Natural leaders know how to motivate others. They take responsibility. They are constructive. They initiate. They acknowledge others and give credit where credit is due. True natural born leaders motivate others without seeking praise. Always look for those who have the attributes of leader.
  • The best employees look for solutions: High achievers tend to seek solutions in an effort to make things better. They understand the importance of seeking assistance to attain goals. They might look for new ways of doing things. The sign of a great employee is one who looks for solutions and seeks ways to advance methods and procedures. Rather than just complaining about a problem, a winning employee will offer a solution to an existing problem!
  • They have positive natures: Perpetually negative people seldom make contributions of any merit; they’re too busy being adverse and destructive. Complainers are a red flag. But employees with positive natures help others and advance causes. It’s in their nature to do positive things – and that’s good for business!
  • Look for core values and ethics: Those who live by high principles and good conduct will be most likely to observe those core principles no matter what. Within the list of core values are honesty, integrity, courtesy and respect. Having a solid work ethic is also essential. People of high caliber are of value to any organization. Organizations that don’t have good ethics or values don’t generally retain people who do!

There are other key attributes that help identify employees with the most potential. They will be good communicators. They’ll be detail oriented, goal oriented, and organized. Any company that wants to excel needs human capital. Skill, talent, initiative, character, and positive personal attributes are key attributes of the best employees. After all, great employees are at the heart of every great organization!

Mustang Positive Professional Development can help your firm identify aspects of the best employees. Mustang PPD provides services that include team building and business coaching that’s specific to the requirements of your company. Mustang Positive Professional Development is located in the Greater Toronto Area and welcomes all inquiries.

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Finding Work-Life Balance For Senior Managers And Executives

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The pressures and demands of work for senior managers and executives can be daunting in the requirements of time, energy, and obligation – and those very pressures will inevitably lead to reduced effectiveness that can compound health-related issues if not properly managed. The answer to these heavy demands lies in the importance of creating work-life balance.

A healthy work-life balance is essential to many of the most important aspects of a person’s life… physical health, emotional health, commitment to family and relationships, involvement in community and, ultimately, effectiveness on the job. Stress may be a reality of life but excessive unremitting stress will lead to diminished health and job performance. Worst-case scenarios of all-consuming job pressures can include reduced efficiency, stress leave, collapse of family, and even substance abuse and job loss.

Various factors contribute to stress and lack of work-life balance; the proliferation of technology and its uses (cell phones and the Internet, to name a few), an unceasing 24/7 timetable, demands for profit and market share, accountability, and more… it all adds up. It’s unceasing – and yet finding balance is imperative to all the benefits of having a well-rounded life. Senior managers can’t afford the risks associated with losing control. How then does one effectively manage work and all the other aspects of life? The answers lie in the very concept of balance, with methods that include…

Define priorities: Senior managers understand the need to prioritize. The all-important step of defining priorities is critical to your well-being and success. Reschedule lesser priorities. Get rid of those that can be delegated. Focusing your mind on the right priorities will clarify your thinking and improve your energy.  Our experience of life is determined by what we pay attention to.  This has been researched and makes practical sense.  So define your priorities – give your attention and time to the things that are important.

One exercise I use in executive coaching uses simple index cards.  As the client and I talk through an issue, problem or opportunity, I write topics on individual index cards.  Then we agree that the topics are the elements of the situation.  From there the client evaluates and expands on his element.  Then we choose which elements (cards) matter now.  Action is planned based on those important elements.  Give it a try.  It’s a very simple method to clarify your thoughts and identify your priorities.

Schedule tenaciously: It may come as a surprise to some people that rest and recreation can be scheduled just as effectively as the tasks at work. Limit yourself to one day timer and use it for both work and home life. Consider reviewing the day’s plan – including for family and personal matters – at the start of each day. You may find yourself getting enjoyment out of planning the time you’ll spend with loved ones or for an evening’s entertainment.

Monitor time: Time allotment must be measured against your priorities and schedule. You can’t afford to be lax in time-management, though some items on your busy schedule may require more-or-less allocated time. Monitor your time like money in the bank!

One way I sometimes do that is to “Grade” my day.  I monitor my time allotment; and at the end of each day I give myself a Grade – A, B, C or Fail.  (Now that I’m more familiar with growth mindset principles I change Fail to Not Yet.  See Carol Dweck

Create boundaries: This can mean knowing how to say “no.” You as a senior manager understand that you can’t do everything and that you can’t be everything to everybody. This is why you have staff. Creating boundaries will apply as much to home as it does to work. If you’re going to spend time with your spouse and children, learn to say no to other invitations and attractions.

Invest in your health: Don’t ever think that your health can wait. Once you lose your health, all other things will spin out of control. Health is a priority. It leads to longevity, vitality, strength and happiness. Take care of your health through diet, exercise, appropriate rest, and stress management and never put it on the backburner.

Focus on family and relations: Whatever the uniqueness of your life and your circumstances, if you find yourself closing off from family and friends you may just find yourself on the wrong path. It’s a sure indication that things are out of balance. Keep family and friends as a priority, remembering that they need nurturing and attention, as well. It’s good for all involved!

Make time for yourself: We are to some degree designed as autonomous creatures. Between all the commitments of family and business, you’ll need to take time out to nurture your well-being. Find a way to shut out the world, even if only for a fraction of the day, so than you can rejuvenate yourself.

Get the help you need: Whether through personal coaching, counselling, diet management, or whatever, don’t be too proud to think you can “tough out” problems or handle personal challenges all on your own. Your role as a senior manager means having the smarts to find the resources you need to manage aspects of personal life, health, and business.

The importance of having a healthy work-life balance cannot be sufficiently stressed. Job effectiveness, enjoyment, fulfillment, and health are all part of a well-rounded life. Much of what’s involved in finding that balance basically requires the need to establish boundaries while knowing how to apply your available options as you “create” this new life for yourself. Ultimately, you’ll be so very glad you did!

Learn more through the professional coaching of Mustang Positive Professional Development. Mustang PPD offers sessions in business and career coaching, team building, leadership development workshops, as well the unique benefits derived from Equine Assisted Training. Please refer to this website for more info and contact information.

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Conflict Management – Reducing Work-Place Strife While Improving Performance

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Of all the many benefits of leadership coaching, one of the most helpful regards conflict management; something that can apply to all levels of staff and management for the enhancement of workplace effectiveness and the well-being of all.

Conflict management isn’t simply about alleviating conflict. More accurately, conflict management reduces the negative aspects of conflict while maximizing the positive aspects created by the conflict. In group situations, as might be encountered in business and workplace scenarios, conflict management can improve group awareness and outcomes; thereby cultivating better organizational performance. Equally, conflict management delivers benefits to the individual, which, by example, can include reduced stress with improved personal effectiveness and happiness.

Examples of the various types of conflict include interpersonal (between two people); intrapersonal (which is conflict within an individual); intergroup (that is, conflict between different teams or groups of people); and intragroup conflict (which is essentially the conflict that can occur between individuals in a group or team). Conflict can arise when there are opposing ideas, methods, and strategies. But conflict – and the means by which it originates and is expressed – can encompass so much more. People we work with might be antagonistic or offensive; or they might be excessively demanding and uncaring about our requirements to do our jobs effectively. Others might be manipulative and deceptive, which is certain to lead to conflict. Different outlooks, different ideologies, different personality types, and even different management styles can be sources of conflict.

The ABCs of Resilience at Work” (which can be read on this website) essentially refers to the process of evaluating a situation. This system, in short, takes into account Adversity, Belief, and Consequences. In conflict resolution, this is further enhanced by a methodology that identifies fives strategies as it applies to addressing conflict:

  • Accommodation
  • Avoidance
  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Compromise

Developing and employing these skills requires the abilities to effectively employ the methods. In embarking on conflict management to improve work-flow effectiveness and work-related relationships, much can be gained in virtually any workplace scenario. Some of the skills that can be developed include:

  • Awareness of the associated emotions and communication skills that apply to conflict;
  • Understanding one’s own undesirable triggers and inherent conflict resolution styles;
  • Learning how to recognize others’ needs as it applies to disputes and conflict situations;
  • Formulating productive skills that can apply to conflict resolution and conciliation;
  • Developing the confidence and means to apply different strategies in resolving conflict;
  • Learning how to change characteristic counterproductive behaviors;
  • Knowing the techniques to productively address disputes;

Learning and understanding the tools of these various conflict resolution styles and methods help build on improved work-place relationships and effectiveness with reduced stress and greater skillsets for problem-solving tasks.

Professional Leadership Coach Mustang Positive Professional Development in the Greater Toronto Area shares a recent experience regarding conflict resolution coaching:

I recently worked with an executive client who had ongoing conflict with his boss. His plan was to threaten to quit. That is not generally a good strategy. Sometimes leaving a position is the right strategy; but it’s never wise to use quitting as a threat. We spent time helping him ‘Pay Attention to the Right Things’, combined with understanding the difference between a Response and a Reaction.

As described in Psychology Today (Matt James, Ph.D., September 1, 2016), “A reaction is instant… When you say or do something ‘without thinking,’ that’s the unconscious mind running the show. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level [is] a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later… A response… takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.”

Mustang PPD continues with what resulted in an excellent positive outcome…

When the time came for addressing the conflict with his colleague, my executive client did not react. He responded appropriately – and legitimately strongly. The result was resolution of the conflict. If my client had reacted emotionally, the result might have been the end of his career with that company or heightened conflict.

Conflict management and conflict resolution are invaluable to best practices across an unlimited number of applications. Learn more today about Mustang Positive Professional Development and the firm’s coaching and team-building services and expertise. All inquiries are welcomed.

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